Cell Phone Consumer Protection Legislation Introduced In New York -- Called Strongest In the Country
ALBANY, N.Y., June 2 -- Today, with more and more New Yorkers over the age of 50 using their cell phone as a safety tool in case of emergencies, AARP has thrown its support behind legislation to bring about stronger consumer protections in New York’s cell phone industry.
The “wireless telephone service consumer protection act of 2005,” A.8539, introduced by Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, would establish the strongest set of protections for cell phone consumers in the nation. AARP also supports similar legislation introduced by Senator James W. Wright to provide strong cell phone consumer protections.
“This legislation would effectively add much needed consumer protections to the ever-changing wireless world and make it easier for the customer to make informed purchases regarding their cell phone service,” said Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, the bills primary sponsor.
According to an AARP survey, there is overwhelming support from its New York membership for the consumer protections and basic disclosures that this legislation would establish.
“AARP commends Assemblyman O’Donnell for introducing this legislation to provide over 9 million cell phone users in New York State, including about 3 and half million over the age of 50, with the protections they need,” said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State director. “With more people using cell phones and the reliance of older New Yorkers on cell phones as their safety device, the need for these protections is obvious.”
The wireless consumer protection act would:
-- Require the upfront disclosure of monthly fees, taxes, surcharges, termination fees and any additional charges for using the phone
-- Allow a consumer to cancel their cell service contract 15 days after receiving their first bill without penalty
-- Establish a formal customer complaint process and enforcement authority at the New York State Consumer Protection Board
-- Require more detailed coverage maps which illustrate where cell service is available
-- Provide consumers with the New York State Department of State’s toll free hotline number to call to find out where E 911 service is available
“Consumers expect a level playing field when they seek cell telephone service,” said Ben Wiles, a senior attorney with the Public Utility Law Project, a not for profit advocacy organization representing the interests of residential consumers on electric, gas and telephone utility issues. “This bill, when enacted, will meet that legitimate expectation, and enhance the competitive marketplace in a way that a purely voluntary industry-crafted ’consumer code’ cannot.”
PULP joins AARP in commending Assemblyman O’Donnell on the introduction of this important legislation.
AARP has over 2.6 million members in New York State. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. AARP provides information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for AARP members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, AARP’s monthly newspaper; Segunda Juventud, AARP’s quarterly newspaper in Spanish; Live and Learn, AARP’s quarterly newsletter for National Retired Teachers Association members; and AARP’s Web site, http://www.aarp.org. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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